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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY    AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

and the one which examines the processes of time—can
never be really separated without misfortune. On the
one side we have seen already that our analysis of the
course of things may be defective if we have failed to
reconstitute the historic moment in all its fulness. On
the other side mere narration and description are in
danger of being too intent on scenic display, too pre-
occupied with the mere surface of things ; and perhaps
it is this—lather than mere impatience with the drudgery
of research—which is responsible for the most serious
organic weakness in literary history. If the Renaissance
painters found it necessary to study anatomy for the
purpose of portraying the human form, if Leonardo da
Vinci's geological interests can be divined in some of the
landscape that he put into his pictures, it is equally true
that historical description and narration must have the
analyst behind them, and in defect of this the result will
show a'faultiness that is really a lack of structure.

The literary historians, though they never realised or
intended it, were apt to be too merely pictorial in their
attempted resurrections of the past* Carlyle, as he was
writing his French devolution, revealed it as his intention
" to splash down what I know in large masses of colour
that it may look like a smoke and flame conflagration in
the distance ". It has rightly been pointed out, how-
ever, that he gives us his remarkable flame-pictures, but
does not really show us why the Revolution passed from
one stage to the next. The literary historians were
extremely anxious to recapture scenes, to visit sites, to
make us see how a given landscape centuries ago differed
from its present form, and to portray the outer man or

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